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COVID-19 Queries

Below you will find answers to a number of COVID-19 related questions recently posed to the BFFF.

The BFFF team are actively seeking information from both government and non-government sources to assist members with their queries and concerns so please bear with us whilst we attempt to get responses for you. Once available, questions and their responses will be uploaded into this area for all to view. Please ensure you check back regularly for any updates.

 

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Key Workers and sending kids to school

Myself and/or my partner are classed as ‘key workers’. Should I send my child to school?

The Department for Education (DfE) have issued guidance in relation to educational settings, including the position on key workers. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

 

The scientific advice is clear that, to stop the further spread of COVID-19, we need children to stay at home wherever possible and only attend where they absolutely need to. Government states that they expect our suppliers to play their part here. Government also want to ensure children are not sent to Grandparents for childcare.

But of course, they appreciate that we need to keep key public services and industries running, which is why the children of key workers will still be able to attend educational settings. Based on the guidance, key workers include those involved in:

 

  • supporting the NHS or social care provision, including keeping hospitals clean and maintained, or those involved in the production of cleaning products, PPE, ventilators etc
  • supporting direct frontline services in central or local government
  • the food production and distribution systems
  • supporting the military, national security services, emergency services, prisons and borders protection, including the 999 and NHS111 services
  • transport systems and infrastructure
  • ensuring that energy, water and telecoms, waste management utilities continue
  • industries essential to the COVID-19 response

 

This will include your staff where they fall into these categories. But if you have any doubt, please contact your contracting authority who will be considering their business continuity plans and can confirm their position. We can also help if there is any confusion.

 

Please follow the spirit of this guidance. We do need to ensure that children are not sent to school unless it is absolutely necessary. This is a key part of the Governments national response to this virus.

 

Going forward employees may need evidence that they are a key worker. Companies should draft a letter in preparation.

Please note: whilst the definition of ‘key worker’ is now pretty clear in the UK this does not
appear to be the case as yet, in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Rather than passing a statutory Instrument, the Scottish Government has instead provided criteria local authorities and has asked them to determine local need. Ultimately, Councils will have the final say on the exact definition of what they term ‘vital community responders’ based on the needs of their area. Therefore, some schools and ELC settings will stay open, depending on the arrangements that local authorities make. The same appears to be true of Northern Ireland.